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USDA Urges Consumers: Check Your Freezers

Written by Lisa Wallenda Picard, Food Safety and Inspection Service

Last night, USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a recall of frozen ground beef products. Working closely with our partners at California’s Department of Public Health, investigators were able to connect several illness with products sold.  Because E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium, USDA is asking consumers to check their freezer and immediately discard any product that is the subject of this recall.

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “EST. 8268″ inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as a production code of 27509 through 01210. These products were produced between the dates of Oct. 2, 2009 through Jan. 12, 2010 and were distributed to retail outlets and institutional foodservice providers in California, Texas, Oregon, Arizona and internationally. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on FSIS’ recall webpage.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify that firms notify their customers (including restaurants) of a recall and that steps are taken to make certain that a suspect product is no longer available to consumers.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume ground beef that has been cooked to a temperature of 160° F. The only way to confirm that ground beef is cooked to a temperature high enough to kill harmful bacteria is to use a food thermometer that measures internal temperature. 

E. coli O157:H7 can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and persons with weak immune systems are the most susceptible to foodborne illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a health care provider.

If you have food safety question, you can Ask Karen,  FSIS’ automated response system providing food safety information 24/7.  Also, follow FSIS on Twitter for the latest informaiton at @usdafoodsafety.

Download the U.S. Government’s Products Recall app for the Android smartphone; apps for Blackberry and iPhone are soon to follow.

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